Home News SamTrans bus drivers get more protection under new policy

SamTrans bus drivers get more protection under new policy


SAN CARLOS – More than three times as many SamTrans bus drivers were physically assaulted last year compared to the prior year, leading the transit agency to adopt its first code of conduct and enforcement policy that if broken, could get violators kicked off buses forever.

The new policy, approved by the agency’s board of directors earlier this week, applies to passengers who are entering or leaving a station, riding in a SamTrans, Redi-Wheels, RediCoast or Ride Plus vehicle or waiting at a SamTrans bus stop.

Last year, SamTrans said their bus drivers were assaulted 14 times, compared to four times in 2022 and seven times in 2021. Nationwide, the Federal Transit Administration reported a four-fold increase in bus operator assaults since 2009.

“At SamTrans, the numbers are not as high, but we want to get ahead of the increase and prevent as many incidents as we can,” said Ana Rivas, SamTrans director of bus transportation, in a statement.

Last spring, a man was arrested in Palo Alto on suspicion of spitting in the face of one SamTrans bus driver and wrapping his arms around another before running from officers and trying to carjack a woman. A few months earlier, a man became upset and yelled racist and sexist remarks at a SamTrans bus driver in San Mateo when he was told to put on a protective mask. He later punched the bus driver and threw a trash can at the bus, according to published reports.

SamTrans’ new code of conduct bans harassment, disruptive conduct, discrimination, fare evasion, sexual harassment, physical and verbal assault, tampering with emergency exits, use of prohibited substances, blocking entries and exits , carrying and using weapons, disregarding safety instructions, and other conduct that would distract bus drivers.

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